I can see the tracks in the distance ascending 37 metres into the air and descending with a 33 metre drop. As I move closer, I can see the roller coaster train twisting and turning around sharp curves. Then I hear the voice through the loud speaker.” Get ready screamers! Head back! Face forward and hold on to your seat! 5,4,3,2,1 Go!
In the background I can hear screaming. This bad boy goes from 0-100 km/h in just under seconds. And it has scream tubes. so the happy visitors can hear the screaming right across the Adventure park.
Now I’m standing under the roller coaster watching as group after group gets on. I watch them scream as the roller coaster goes up and down at a breakneck speed. I have a choice. I can either stand there and watch others scream and have fun. Or I can get in line and experience the drama for myself.
Part of me is trembling with excitement, but a bigger part of me is numb with fear. I am trying to keep my mind distracted from my feelings of fear because if I get into the ‘what ifs’ I will end up missing out. The line inches along and the anticipation grows.
I look at all the people in line. Some of them are just kids. If kids can trust this ride to hold them, surely it will be safe. I study the faces of the each person. No one seems to be concerned for their safety. Some are even playing games on their electronic devices. My adrenaline is rushing. I take a deep breath trying to get control of my instinct to run.
Before I know it, I am being corralled into a barrier which only allows four people in. These are going to be my companions for the ride of my life. I am sweating. Is this a hot flash? No, it’s a panic attack.
I focus on my daughter so I don’t have to worry about how I am feeling. My heart is beating faster and I realize I am holding my breath. I smile reassuringly at my daughter and point to another amusement in the park.
We move from the line to our seats somewhere in the middle of the train. The bar clicks as it comes down and secures us in. I try to lift it. Yep! It’s secure. I hang on to the handles and put my head back like I was instructed. The train climbs slowly up the tracks.
I try not to focus on how high up we are going as my stomach starts to twirl with anxiety. My muscles are so tense I am beginning to loose the feeling in my fingers. The first corner is terrifying as my body adjusts to the speed. I hang on tighter and smile at my daughter reassuringly.
Breathe! Breathe! I can’t let her know how frightened I am. I begin to feel more calm as I put my trust in the thought that the workers put this ride together securely.I seize the moment and decide to have fun.
No amount of preparation gets me ready to experience the jolting experience of going upside down through the loop. When the train levels out and then heads for another incline, my confidence is building. I survived going upside down at 100 km/hr on the eighth longest roller coaster in the world. There are more inclines and sharp drops and I surrender myself to the experience.
As the train pulls into the docking station, I feel like I have conquered a giant and I am ready to go again.
Sometimes my life feels like a roller coaster ride. I often lose my direction when balancing life while guiding my daughters into adulthood. I try to gain control by hanging on tighter or by convincing myself that it isn’t as bad as I feel. When I surrender to God and breathe in His Spirit, I can hear a still small voice say “I am in control. The plan I have for your life is good. I am with you all the way.” It’s not a bad thing when fear drives me to stop and inhale the fragrance of my Creator. I can see the path ahead and I am ready for the next drop.
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